Jólabókaflóð is an Icelandic tradition that literally means “Christmas Book Flood.”  It is customary for every person in Iceland to receive at least one book for Christmas, so that means many books are sold during this time of year.

fullsizerender-1The excitement begins when the bókatíðindi arrives in the mailbox.  The bókatíðindi is a catalog, sent free to every Icelandic household, that lists all of the books that are available for purchase in Iceland during the Christmas season.  Televised interviews with authors, commercials advertising books, and discussions about new releases are also popular leading up to the holiday.  On Christmas Eve, it is tradition to settle in for the night with your new books and read!


Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world.  A majority of the books published in Iceland each year come out during the Christmas season.

More Icelandic Christmas traditions:

  • An Icelandic folktale states that everyone must get a new piece of clothing for Christmas.  If they don’t, they will be eaten by the Christmas Cat.
  • Icelanders have 13 Yule Lads, “Santas,” that visit one by one in the days before Christmas, leaving small gifts in shoes left out by children.  If a potato is left instead, uh oh…61d-zCxR57L._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_


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